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TM Krishna, Romila Thapar and others condemn sedition case against 49 celebs

Over 180 celebrities have said that more of them will speak up against mob lynching, the silencing of people’s voices and the misuse of courts.
At least 185 celebrities, including writers and personalities from the performing arts and cinema, have condemned the sedition case filed a few days ago against 49 celebrities who wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the rising incidence of hate crimes in the country. The case was filed in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur on October 2.
These celebrities, who include vocalist TM Krishna, journalist Ammu Joseph, actor Naseeruddin Shah, authors Jeet Thayil, Ashokk Vajpeyi and Nayantara Sahgal, historian Romila Thapar and dancer Mallika Sarabhai, among others, have written a letter to PM Modi expressing these sentiments.
“An FIR has been lodged against forty-nine of our colleagues in the cultural community, simply because they performed their duty as respected members of civil society,” the letter said. “They wrote an open letter to the prime minister, expressing concern about mob lynching in our country. Can this be called an act of sedition? Or is harassment by misusing the courts a ploy to silence citizens’ voices?”
Condemning this “harassment”, the signatories said they endorsed the letter the 49 had written, and added that “more of us will speak every day. Against mob lynching. Against the silencing of people’s voices. Against the misuse of courts to harass citizens.”
The first letter signed by the 49 celebrities was written in July. It included filmmakers Mani Ratnam, Adoor Gopalakrishnan, actor-directors Revathy, Konkona Sen Sharma, and others. They had expressed concerns about the rising incidence of identity-based hate crimes and lynchings of Muslims, Dalits and other minorities in India.
The letter stated that “Jai Shri Ram” had become a provocative war cry, and appealed to Prime Minister Modi to stop the use of Ram in this manner.
Shortly after this, 62 celebrities including lyricist Prasoon Joshi, filmmaker Vivek Agnihotri and actor Kangana Ranaut wrote a counter to the above letter, and accused the 49 of showing “selective concern and demonstrated a clear political bias and motive” and attempting “to foist a FALSE NARRATIVE.”
The FIR against the 49 was based on a complaint by advocate Sudhir Ojha, who accused the signatories to the letter of tarnishing “the image of the country” and undermining “the impressive performance of the Prime Minister” besides “supporting secessionist tendencies”. The FIR was filed under various sections of the Indian Penal Code including sedition, public nuisance, hurting religious feelings and insulting with an intent to provoke breach of peace.
Read: FIR against Mani Ratnam, Adoor and 47 others who wrote to Modi on communal violence
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